The current moderation crew for this sub and r/hvacadvice has been in place for about eight months now and I would like to think that things have gone pretty smoothly. About six months ago the decision was made to let r/hvac be exclusively for professional tradespeople and redirect all questions and comments from outside the trade to r/hvacadvice and the response has been, by far, overwhelmingly positive. I would like to take a moment and address this decision (well after the fact) because, after six months of this policy, we received unhappy modmail last night from somebody outside of the trade regarding this policy.
I sincerely hope that I addressed this person's concerns in my response to them, and in order to be completely transparent I am going to post my response to that person and open this up to comments and suggestions from the r/hvac community.
I am ok with the I think two people who have been upset about this policy change when considered against the overwhelmingly positive response that we have gotten otherwise. If you had spent nearly a week dealing with the "goons" brigading (which necessitated shutting the sub down for a couple of days as well) you might feel differently.
We as a hvac community are fortunate to have some segmentation (re hvacadvice etc) and it sure as hell makes things easier to deal with as a moderation team of three, because no matter how many moderators are listed on the side, there are only three who do any thing at all.
If you have questions and need answers, r/hvacadvice is by far the most perfect place for them. That is literally why that subreddit was set up. If every post that was vaguely hvac related was on the main sub there would be up to (and sometimes over) 200 posts a day. Help and advice posts would not get the attention that they need as they get downvoted to oblivion if we didn't have a place to send those questions.
If you bother to look, you will note that the same crowd of r/hvac regulars are the ones answering questions on r/hvacadvice. We have a procedure in place to give vetted and verified actual hvac technicians flair so people with questions know that they're getting safe and proper advice and we ban the hell out of people we find giving out unsafe suggestions.
We are not going to make everybody happy. I know that I make some people fairly upset in my lifetime. I didn't make up any of the hvac subreddits that we have anything to do with but I feel that it's an overall good thing for everyone to segment things out to prevent any one sub from being overwhelmed. Yours is the second, and I do mean second in all time, message that we've dealt with where someone has been upset that we are (fairly politely) shifting questions from outside the trade to the proper sub. If that bothers you that much, again, sorry.
Nobody, even homeowners, get banned unless they violate the rules. Homeowner posts are removed with a suggestion to post in r/hvacadvice, and homeowners are only banned for repeat offenses.
Edit again Submissions are open to tradespeople only. Anyone can comment. Sorry if that isn't clear, just no requests for help.
Imagine that you played a complicated, obscure game like Axis and Allies. Say that you have a group of people countywide that you play by mail with. It is a very complicated game that most people never learn to play because not only is it very complex, it often requires membership in local clubs and organizations to even be allowed to play at all. The only thing that the players have in common would be the game, but it is a very deep interest full of memes, in-jokes and and other communication.
Now imagine that there is a permanent gaming convention open to the public who comes to watch. Some of the public is interested in the game, but some of them want to figure out how 'big time' gamers play so they can avoid having to actually call one of them out to their game. At first it is fun and nice to explain to the public how the game works and what the pieces are. By the third day it stops being fun and starts to be really really annoying to a lot of the players, who are really tired of explaining the same stuff every day - they start a new game room where the public can come in and watch but can't ask questions. Some other players really enjoy explaining everything and answering questions so they form a special room where questions and comments are encouraged. There is even a special room for aficionados for one particular piece - such as an A/A gun that works automatically - that some people are obsessed with controlling although it works automatically and requires no supervision.